With: Shaped by Fate, Hammer of the Gods
@ The Underworld, Camden
20th January 2011
Photos: Altercarnated Photography
I have been looking forward to this gig since I first heard about it a few months ago. Two things potentially worried me about this night. First, as much as I love the Camden Underworld, I feel it may be a little on the small side for a Band like ‘Crowbar’. Second, it is still three weeks until their new album is released and I really wanted to get to know it before the gig.
After enjoying the usual few drinks in the Worlds End pub above the Underworld Venue, I headed straight in and towards the merchandise table hoping to try and spot an advance copy of the album but of course I am just kidding myself! It was refreshing to see current Crowbar guitarist, ‘Matthew Brunson’ serving, chatting and being very accepting to the fans eager to buy t-shirts.
Quite early into the evening the first support band takes to the stage; Hammer of the Gods.
I was a little surprised that there was more than one support band and wasn’t prepared for them to go on so quick.
I was even less prepared for what I was about to see. The whole band were dressed in Roman togas except the guitarist who was in a Roman guard Uniform, complete with brush adorned helmet!
After their first song the lead Vocalist quotes that apparently "Kirk thinks we are a Mrs Doubtfire tribute band", in reference to their outfits.
I rather enjoyed ‘Hammer of the Gods’ and thought they were a fitting opening band.
They had the right amount of what was needed to get people motivated early on in the evening.
Quite modern sounding, as in bright and not too muddy, plenty of slow groove and some hardcore elements.
Melodic guitar solos and low tuned dirty riffs.
The Vocals let them down a little as they didn’t seem to have enough low end in them to lead this band, but there was enough acting and showmanship to make up for it.
The next support band was Shaped by Fate.
This was the support act I was expecting to see so I had quite high expectations which is perhaps why I was a tad disappointed.
I assumed that ‘Shaped by Fear’ would have all the hallmarks that both ‘Hammer of the Gods’ and ‘Crowbar’ have but instead it was quite the opposite.
The overall tempo was fast and they had a much more Hardcore sound which although the element does fit there was no slow groove or Doom.
The Vocals were not high enough in the mix but what you could make out sounded like aggressive barking while the frontman would storm from one side of the stage to the other.
About half way through the set an incredible stink rifts around the venue.
The kind where you look at the person next to you accusingly, but then the band mentioned it on stage because it had gotten so bad. I have perhaps been a bit harsh on ‘Shaped by Fear’. At the end of the day they are a competent band, just not the kind of band I had expected. Looking back on it they were a contrast and it makes sense to have a slow band then a fast band to get you psyched up before the headlining slow band.
The last song they played was chuggy drawn-out and long which was their saving grace, over all reminded me of Mastodons longer passages and a safer way to lead in to the headline act.
The size of the Underworld was a concern to me and as Crowbar walk on stage it is even more apparent that not everyone here in the venue will see the band.
It is a sold out show and you cannot move for the amount of people, even the bar areas are full while the band is playing. Still, everyone is excited to see them.
They open up with ‘Conquering’ from their ‘Broken Glass’ album, one of their faster tunes which really gets things moving.
Crowbar have been classed in the past as Doom-core. I think this is quite fitting, its not just about how fast or slow they play, and they can play slow, its more about the brakes and mid sections.
Towards the middle of the set they play a few tracks from ‘Sonic Excess’ in its Purest Form which centre on harmonies between the two guitarists and sound great on the album but so much fuller live which was amazing to hear. ‘New Dawn’ from their 2005 album ‘Lifesblood’ for the ‘Downtrodden’ which was an album I really enjoyed and wanted to hear more from it.
After playing ‘Subversion’ form their first album they finish with ‘Cemetery Angels’, a song from the new album which has been released on the internet so most people here should be familiar with it.
The gig went down really well but I cant help feeling a little cheated. With nine albums under their belt I would have liked a slightly longer set list and to hear at least more than one new song. Still I am definitely not leaving disappointed and I still wait eagerly for ‘Sever the Wicked Hand’ which should be available in Europe on Feb the 14, an excellent gift for a loved one!
Conquering, High rate extinction, Lasting dose, Burn your world, I have failed, All I had I gave, Through the ashes I burn, New Dawn, Self inflicted, I am forever, Subversion, Planets collide, Cemetery Angels.